This is my killer cheesecake recipe. The one that people request for their birthdays and holidays. The one that my coworkers drop everything for. The one that everyone in my family can agree (no small task, believe me) is the best cheesecake ever. So if you are looking for a dessert that impresses, here you go.
- 1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (I use the gluten free ginger snaps)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
- 2 15-oz. cans pear halves packed in juice, drained
- 3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and wrap outside with foil.
Make crust: Stir together crumbs and butter with a fork. Press mixture onto bottom of pan and bake until set, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce temperature to 325°F.
Make filling: Blend sugar and ginger in a food processor until ground. Add pears and blend until smooth. In separate bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sour cream and beat until smooth. Gradually add sugar mixture, scraping down sides of bowl, and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla and salt.
Pour filling into springform pan, set in a roasting pan, place in oven and pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up sides of pan. The water bath is what helps the cheesecake bake evenly. Don’t skip this step! Bake for 90 minutes, until center is almost set but jiggles slightly. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack in water bath for 15 minutes, then remove pan to rack to cool. Don’t let it cool in the water bath for too long otherwise it will crack. Learned that one the hard way! Remove foil and refrigerate cheesecake, loosely covered, until chilled, at least 12 hours. The cheesecake also freezes beautifully.